Despite their recent improved form, Eastbourne Town were unable to get anything from their Ryman League match against Walton & Hersham FC, at Stompond Lane on Saturday.
Their opponents, fresh from victory over Leatherhead in midweek, carried on their good form of late, winning by three goals to one.
Walton & Hersham had the first effort on goal almost immediately, as Lloyd Owusu, for the Swans, bundled his way through the Town rearguard but he found Ross Sutton on the line to clear his goalbound effort.
With both defences looking nervous and with no real cohesion to either team, it was no surprise to see so many passes going astray as neither side dominated the early exchanges.
Town’s first decent effort fell to Aaron Watson whose step over and shoe shuffle, on the edge of the Swans penalty area, bamboozled the home defence but his shot just fizzed wide of the host’s upright.
On 21 minutes the home side took the lead. Hammond was given far too much room by the Town defence and he sent an angled ball to the far post where Onieva was on hand to head the ball back across goal, past Greg Nessling, into the net.
Town had to be thankful for Nessling’s intervention soon after when he saved smartly to deny Kabi a goal, diving to his left to divert the ball to safety.
Shortly before the break, Alex Howell should have equalised for Town when he got on the end of a wayward clearance from the Swans’ defence. With just the home goalkeeper to beat, the Town forward dallied on the ball and was smothered out by the grateful Swans’ defenders.
Town were immediately punished for that miss, as the Swans went straight up to the other end of the pitch to score their second goal. Kabi raced onto a sublime through ball from Hammond and he slotted past Nessling to give the home side a 2-0 interval advantage.
Town started the second half in the ascendancy and the tricky Aaron Watson brought a smart save from the home keeper. Watson then thought he had scored when he saw his thumping goalbound shot smash the Swans crossbar, but, sadly for Watson and Town, the ball flew to safety.
Tony Reid then made two changes, bringing on experienced Rocky Baptiste for Alex Howell and Charlie Gee for Richard Greenfield.
However, they couldn’t prevent Town going a further goal down. A needless tackle on the edge of the Town penalty box resulted in a free kick being given to Walton & Hersham. The influential Hammond floated the ball up and over the Town wall, past the despairing dive of Nessling and into the Town net to give his side an unassailable lead.
Town then had their best spell of the game as, twice in quick succession, Gee had chances to score. From his first chance, his effort was hacked away from on the goaline and his other opportunity was well saved by the host’s ‘keeper.
Eventually, Town did get a goal for all their efforts when Billy Medlock was bundled over in the Walton & Hersham penalty area. The charismatic Madlock dusted himself off to calmly stroke the ball home from the penalty spot.
Town have to learn to take the chances they create if they want to start to climb from the lower end of the Ryman South league table, if they don’t, it could be a long, hard and difficult season.
TOWN: Nessling 6, Salami 5, Mitchall 5, Davidson 6, Mybae 6, Sutton 6, Greenfield 5 (Gee 5), Schaaf 6 (Nankani 5), Howell 5 (Baptiste 5), Medlock 6, Watson 7*
Unused subs: T Reid, S Johnson-Freeman
MOM: Aaron Watson - caused problems for the home defence throughout